We've been long-time fans of the blog and website... we've enthusiastically mulled through the pages of the book... and this weekend, we were able to live the experience.
I do not know many culinarians who are not aware of the Ideas in Food blog. It has been ground zero for the exchange of modern food ideas for years now. Actually, it's more of a site than a blog now. Sure, the cyber landscape has changed a bit and the seeds of inspiration have given us a bountiful crop of so many great sources of information that one has difficulty keeping up on a daily basis. Also, the actual culinary landscape itself has changed (no doubt pushed by the shifting waves of internet idea transfer). Still, Ideas in Food remains as the benchmark among all others. There are few blogging chefs out there who have not been inspired to do so by the writings of Alex and Aki. This weekend, we experienced firsthand why these guys are number one on top of the big game.
This event(s) would not have happened first and foremost without Jeremiah of the Gastropod (any chef attendees to the Star Chefs ICC last year should remember the shiny slick airstream trailer equipped with circulating water baths, C-Vap oven, and LN2 tanks parked for business right inside the armory). Jeremiah was the liason and initiator for bringing Alex down here (for the first and hopefully not last time). The other involved group that made this happen is the Cobayas of Miami. This growing list of adventurous eaters and lovers of great food offered the support neccessary for events like this to materialize. You cannot hold a concert without an audience and you cannot prepare an eleborate meal without diners. As for Chef K and myself, we were simply there to offer support and assistance wherever and whenever possible and happy to have played such a minute part in the weekend (kind of like the second string back-up singers far off beyond the stage lights).
The first event was an actual Cobaya Ideas in Food dinner. Seems pretty straightforward... chef comes into town, sources and prepares food, executes a dinner, guests eat it. What makes this dinner 'not so straightforward' is that it was held in a simple warehouse club with no kitchen. That means that 9 courses of food for 52 diners were prepared and executed from Jeremiah's airstream kitchen parked right outside. I am still stuck in amazement at how smoothly this was accomplished. Chef K and I were lucky to be stages for this dinner taking care of a few last minute tasks and assisting with the plating (and serving for one course). I was also very happy to be able to offer my services as a driver around the area the Thursday before for Alex. We visited several markets and restaurant suppliers and Ikea (yes, Ikea for silver & glassware which was cheaper to buy than to rent, go figure) packing my little Chevy HHR to the limit. The menu for the evening can be seen here and some photos here. I'm pretty sure that we'll see several blog posts on this dinner over the coming week from the diners that evening. Keep checking FoodforThoughtMiami for what is sure to be the most spot-on and detailed post to come. This blog is run by our friend, Frodnesor, who's name goes side by side with the Cobaya group itself. Nothing Cobaya happens without him. He is the birth-giver, the alpha-Cobaya, and cannot go unmentioned for being one of the most instrumental people in making this dinner a reality.
The 2nd event of the weekend was a Sunday Brunch, again from the Gastropod which was parked right outside The Stage. Brunch was a la carte (totally food-truck style). The menu was created from ingredients of the dinner with a few enhancements. Chef K and I were fortunate enough to be asked to submit 2 dishes for this menu. This was a great outdoor event, and we all had a great time. If all food truck food could be this nice all of the time... well, then restaurants would really have something to bitch about.